SDAT OVERVIEW FOR MARYLAND BUSINESSES
Anyone doing or planning to do business in Maryland should be familiar with the State Department of Assessments & Taxation ("SDAT"). As a broad overview, SDAT governs business formation and taxation. The SDAT website, http://www.dat.maryland.gov, provides a wealth of information and many forms and required filing information may be found there.
Register, Change, Revive or Dissolve a Business
SDAT filing services include filing forms to register a business in Maryland. These can include: Maryland Limited Liability Company, Foreign (Non-Maryland) Limited Liability Company, Stock Corporation, Tax-Exempt Nonstock Corporation, Close Corporation, and Foreign (Non-Maryland) Corporation. SDAT also has forms to change, revive, or dissolve a business. However, a business owner should be cautioned that many considerations go into what type of business to register and what the tax and other legal ramifications are. SDAT does not provide legal advice on these issues. Instead, an experienced business attorney can offer such advice.
Look for an Existing Business or Find Out if a Business Name
is Taken for Your New Business
SDAT also provides a search engine for business name availability. You can search to see if any other company has registered a company name you want to use. If not, you can.register the name. You can also register a trade name which is commonly known as a t/a or d/b/a name. This name is different from the actual registered entity name but one that the SDAT authorizes you to use. (For example, my business is registered as Katherine L. Taylor, P.A., but the trade name is registered as Taylor Legal.)
Obtain Information About a Business
The status of a business can be checked through SDAT. SDAT can provide certified copies of Articles of Organization or Incorporation. It lists the "Resident Agent," (person authorized to receive service of process for a Maryland business) and the legal status of a business (whether the charter is active or forfeited). In addition, SDAT can provide specific information about a business. For instance, you may want to see if a business is legally registered in Maryland, whether it is a close corporation or a stock corporation, the purpose of the business, or if it is in good standing or forfeited.
File Personal Property Tax Returns
SDAT has forms for filing personal property tax returns. SDAT administers the valuation of annual property taxes based on the value of a business' personal property. SDAT automatically registers corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships, and limited liability partnerships for this type of tax and once your business is registered, you will receive notice that you are required to file property tax returns. However, sole proprietorships and general partnerships, which are not registered with the SDAT, must obtain an SDAT registration number and file an annual business personal property form for this assessment.
Learn How the SDAT Website Can Help You!
The website is easy to navigate but can be overwhelming, content wise, for someone not familiar with the intricacies of business requirements in Maryland. While attorney advice is recommended, it is a good idea to check out and become familiar with all SDAT has to offer.